EU Green Paper on Foreign Judgments

On 21 April 2009, the [European] Commission adopted a report and a green paper on the functioning of the existing rules on jurisdiction of the courts and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. It concludes that time has come to achieve a free circulation of judgments in civil and commercial matters in the European Union on the basis of mutual recognition of judgments among Member States.

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In this context, the report limits itself to presenting the outcome of the evaluation of the operation of the Regulation. Instead, the green paper outlines possible avenues for moving forward on the points raised in the report. In summary, the report and green paper address the following issues:

  • The removal of the remaining obstacles to a free circulation of judgments, i.e. the removal of "exequatur"[6]
  • The protection of European citizens and companies in case of disputes with parties domiciled in third States, in particular by ensuring equal access to the courts of the Member States and equal protection against judgments given by the courts of third States against European defendants;
  • Finally, certain imperfections in the application of certain rules of the Regulation, such as avoiding parallel proceedings in different Member States and ensuring the sound application of contractual agreements as to which courts will deal with the case in the Union.

The report and the green paper aim at launching a broad public consultation of civil society and Member States on the possible ways to deal with the issues referred to above. The deadline for consultation is 30 June 2009. The Commission's work programme foresees that a proposal for revision of the Regulation may be adopted by the end of 2009.

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